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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mixture of Light & Darkness
Resting...now moving forward...then curling in on itself like a wave. Lightness...darkness...flowing...falling, then stopping to look down into the depths where it will finally rest, yet defiantly turning upward toward the light again.

I have tried to capture, in a few feeble words, what this music sounds like. One could not find a better musical...
Published on February 2, 2001 by Brahms Scholar

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6 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Van Cliburn and Brahms
Obviously, I don't agree with the great majority of reviewers. If you like the way Pavarotti sang, you'll like the Cliburn plays, pretentious romantic heroes both, coming in Byronically, and banging, just plain banging away, hair flying.

Even in the Liebestraum, he does so, as well as hovering before each banged chord as if it's too, too beautiful actually to...
Published on May 10, 2009 by Rudy B.


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mixture of Light & Darkness, February 2, 2001
This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
Resting...now moving forward...then curling in on itself like a wave. Lightness...darkness...flowing...falling, then stopping to look down into the depths where it will finally rest, yet defiantly turning upward toward the light again.

I have tried to capture, in a few feeble words, what this music sounds like. One could not find a better musical interpretation of the Greek God Prometheus; who slowly dies from having his liver eaten, while chained to the rocks of the Caucasus Mountains, (Brahms died from a damaged liver as Prometheus did). This music shines forth a penetrating consciousness, only to be consumed by the quiet tranquility of an endless sleep. One hears this in the Capriccio in G Minor as well as many other pieces that begin assertively, but then suddenly grow into a deep yearning for rest.

I can't say enough good things about this CD. If this had been a complete collection of the late piano pieces, I would have to consider this a National Treasure. As I write these words I am listening to the Intermezzo in A, Op. 118 on track 7. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to the piano. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to life itself; since he was to give his life back to the universe from whence it came shortly after these pieces were composed.

When everything has been said and done. When your hopes and dreams of finding the perfect love have been laid to rest, as his must have, time becomes meaningless; and all that you have become and hope to be rests in perfect stillness and repose. This is the feeling one gets when listening to these works. It is so wonderful to see that Van Cliburn, like a true Romantic, understands this and makes no effort to crash around in these pieces in order to create a needless and unnecessary sense of excitement. All of the music here is handled with the utmost sensitivity and delicacy. And as the previous reviewer has stated, the recording quality is very pleasing, since it was originally recorded in analog and then remastered in digital. The original analog (tape) master gives the music a warmth that is fitting for what I consider some of the most important spiritual statements by a composer that have ever been made on the piano. I can't listen to this CD without getting a lump in my throat. This music is sure to stir up long forgotten emotions within you too!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for all Brahms fans!, December 3, 2001
By 
David Mikec (Menomonee Falls, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
I myself am a HUGE Brahms fan. This recording brings us perhaps some of the most beautiful music ever written for piano.
Van Cliburn's interpretation is simply amazing. He can be as soft and subtle as any, while at the same time can play with vigor and fury. I frequently consult this disk for new ideas or perhaps different views.
The quality of the recording is spectacular - crisp, clear, and beautiful.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audiophile version & tasteful performance in one..., December 7, 2000
This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
Recorded between 1970 and 1975, this compilation features powerful, sensitive, and most of all, very musical renditions of these great Romantic pieces. Van Cliburn is very much at home in this repertory (remember it was the Tchaikovsky Piano concerto that made him famous). The sound quality is truly amazing, due no doubt, to the excellent analogue source tape, as well as the 24-bit 96Khz remaster. Seventy-plus minutes of impressive pianism, all for about 12 bucks...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary piano recording., September 1, 2006
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
One really is at first simply stunned by the sound of the piano. These recordings are 30 years old and sound as good or better than a lot of what gets released today.

And then there is the artist himself. I had never taken Cliburn for a Brahmsian. But there are so many wonderful performances on this CD. Take Op. 118 #6 for example. At first hearing, I thought Cliburn was being interpretive. Then I got out my piano edition of Brahms. And it was marked staccato just as Cliburn played it.

More than just being straight with the music, is the beautiful piano tone and lyrical concentration that Van Cliburn brings to his Brahms.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't critique it, September 21, 2006
By 
S. Heinen (Tulsa, OK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
but I can tell you I love it. Brahms--maybe my favorite composer. Van Cliburn--easily my favorite pianist. It doesn't get much better than this in my book. Beautiful music beautifully performed. What more can you ask for?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Cliburn is simply the best!, April 28, 2008
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
I played some of these pieces and especially love Van Cliburn's interpretation of the Ballad in G Minor as well as the Intermezzo in E.

Van Cliburn makes this piano music sound so easy. It is very difficult and well played with expression and appropriate rhythm.

The sound and tonality of this piano is excellent and well recorded.

I highly recommend this for anybody who wants a top performance of Brahm's piano music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous recording, not overdone, October 17, 2008
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
I'm a former classical musician who doesn't listen to much classical music anymore. That said, I adore Brahms piano music, and this is a wonderful recording. Beautifully performed, not overly sappy or sentimental, Van Cliburn has a wonderfully balanced approach to Brahms' stunning romantic music. For those of you who have mixed feelings about classical music, this is a wonderful alternative to the "New Age" piano music so popular right now (and which I enjoy as well). Perfect backdrop to a romantic dinner for two, sipping wine on the veranda - give it a try!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Cliburn is the best Brahms Pianist, July 21, 2008
By 
Allan K. Betz (Ogden, Utah, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
There are, of course, many wonderful interpreters of Brahms piano music. Rubenstein is also good. I think Glen Gould is the worst. Van Cliburn captures a tenderness that I don't hear in any other performances. there is no loss of structure or phrase shaping in his playing he simply plays Brahms as if it were late romantic piano music. Which, of course, it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Cliburn #3, September 21, 2009
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (Audio CD)
I remember him winning the piano competition in Moscow back in the '50s. I've always loved his playing and decided to research and get CD's of his music. Not easy. I was glad to find these three. Thanks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brahms Grows on You, February 19, 2014
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This review is from: My Favorite Brahms (MP3 Music)
I never thought much of Brahms until recently. I began to notice I really liked to hear his later symphonies when they aired on Sirius Symphony Hall channel, and it intrigued me that Brahms was a source of encouragement for Dvorak. A German historian, I was more familiar with Mozart and Beethoven. I began to get interested in the Habsburg Empire, and while their army was never great after Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Empire did quite a job with music and the arts, and Brahms is one great example. The piano works are, I find, dreamy, somewhere between the classical Romantics and the 20th century Modernists. Technically impressive, it is the gentleness, the subtlety, the refinement of Brahms that has that attracts me. The solo piano resonates, especially in surround sound. Cliburn shows his range, from the master of Rachmaninoff, he can bring the rare sounds of Brahms to be savored.
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